A More Unlikely Bid

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 04/02/2005
Level: Intermediate

I've seem some strange things in my 30 years of playing. I've held a 5? opening bid.

I've had a partner who went minus 7,000 on a deal.

But, in 2005, I saw something I've never seen before. In the National Open Pairs in Denver, my partner opened with a 7-bid! Yes a real-life 7-opening!

After three passes, David Berkowitz held:

?A K Q J 10 4 2
?A K J 8 4 3

He opened the bidding 7?! Why not? If partner has the ?Q, it should be easy. Even if partner doesn't have the ?Q, the grand slam might make. If he has shortness, you can hope to ruff a diamond in dummy. If he has some length, you can hope the queen drops under the ace-king. I suppose the worst holding is three low ones, but even then you have good chances.

This was the full deal:

Vul: N-S
Dlr: West
?9 6 5 3
?9 5 3
?A J 9 8 7 2
?K J 8 4 2
?Q 9 7 2
?10 4 3
  ?A Q 10 7
?8 7
?10 6 5
?K Q 6 5
?A K Q J 10 4 2
?A K J 8 4 3
Pass Pass Pass 7?!
Pass Pass Pass  


West (correctly) led a trump, but with the diamonds behaving, declarer had no problem. He ruffed two diamonds in dummy and made all 13 tricks. Plus 2210 was a good matchpoint score. At many tables, East opened 1? in third seat. That eventually induced West to find the good sacrifice in 7?X.

What should South do after that 1? opening? Many used a Michaels bid -- probably the best Michaels bid in tournament history! The North players had a nice hand in support of hearts and often bid hearts themselves (freely). The South players probably wanted to bid 8?! (Speaking of which, I myself wanted to raise my partner's 7? to 8? -- I thought I had a very good dummy).

So, now I've witnessed a legitimate 5? opening and a 7? opening. Will I live long enough to see every opening bid?